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Semmangudi passes away

By Our Special Correspondent


CHENNAI Oct. 31. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, the doyen among Carnatic musicians, died in Chennai this morning. He was 95.

The end came at his residence around 10 a.m., when many of Semmangudi's family members were by his side. He was not keeping good health in the past week and his food intake had come down gradually. He is survived by three sons and two daughters.

Considered the `Pitamaha' among Carnatic musicians, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer was born on July 25, 1908 as the third son of Radhakrishna Iyer and Dharmasamvardhini Ammal. He started learning classical music in 1916, initially from Semmangudi Narayanaswamy Iyer. He then came under the tutelage of Gottu Vadhyam Vidwan Tiruvidaimurudur Sakharama Rao and, then, under Umayalpuram Swaminatha Iyer. His training was complete under another acclaimed vocalist of yesteryear, the late Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer. He gave his first concert in 1926 at a temple at Kumbakonam.

A recipient of the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan awards, Semmangudi had also won the prestigious Sangeetha Kalanidhi title from the Music Academy, Chennai.

On hearing the news of his death, prominent musicians including Lalgudi Jayaraman, Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan and K.J. Yesudas, visited the doyen's residence in south Chennai and paid floral tributes. On behalf of the Tamil Nadu Government, the Education Minister, S. Semmalai, placed a wreath and paid homage to the veteran musician. Leaders, musicians, artists and music sabhas conveyed their condolences and paid tributes to Semmangudi. The funeral will take place tomorrow.

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